Interview with Elisa Strozyk
The Mixed-Media Artist Returns with New Woven Glass Pendant Lamps
Mixed-media artist Elisa Strozyk explores the limits of materiality, transforming wood panels into flexible table runners and—for her latest body of work—weaving glass into gentle pendant lamps that sway with the wind. We spoke with her about her new line of lights. Read the interview below.
As was the case with your wooden table runners at Gestalten Pavilion, your woven-glass pendant lamps merge traditional elements of handicraft with new and innovative material combinations and techniques. What is the importance of traditional hand-crafting techniques such as weaving?
Weaving is a very important technique as it is the starting point of constructing a textile surface. The weaving pattern leads to materials with different properties and varied visual appearences. With the weaving technique, it is possible to regulate a material’s parameters such as the thickness, stiffness or translucency.
I think most people are not aware of this process when they look at a textile surface. In a way, the woven-glass surfaces put the weaving technique in the spotlight: scaled-up and illuminated. Due to the stiff material, it is easy to see how the warp and the weft go up and down to connect a woven surface.
When you last spoke with Gestalten, you talked about how the tactile experience of your work is very important. How does tactility play into the—presumably fragile—woven glass pieces that you have been producing?
Yes, I think the tactility of a surface is a very important to consider when thinking of how to interact with a design object. I like to create surfaces that are desirable to touch. This is also relates to glass—which is indeed fragile—but not as fragile as would mean that it shouldn't be touched. The weaving technique creates a three-dimensional, structured surface and I think that its tactility does not necessarly need to be experienced by touch. It may be sufficient to visually trigger the desire to touch the surface.
The pendant lamps also work with a different kind of mobility than your previous work did. Whereas the wooden textiles had an interactive mobility whether presented as a table runner or a garment, the lamps seem more passive as they sway with the airflow. How does mobility play into your work and especially your new projects?
Yes, it's true—I like to integrate the aspect of mobility in my work and it is very important for the wooden-textile material, but it is not the essential element of all of my designs.
For the woven-glass project, my focus was more on the surface itself. But maybe I will look into the combination of glass and movement in another project, as it would be an interesting challenge.
Your color palette has also expanded considerably from the woven wood textiles you previously created for Gestalten, as the more natural creams, browns, and grays have given way to a rainbow of pastel greens, blues, reds, and purples. What has brought about this shift in hues?
It's true that I didn't use much color when I started to work with the wooden textiles, but a while ago I already developed a lot of colorful wooden textile pieces, such as my “Colored Wooden Rug” series or my “Broken Vegetable Tablerunner” series. Also for my “Ceramic Table” series, I experimented with a new way of using color. But it's true that the woven-glass project shows a completely new palette of pastel colors. I enjoyed to play with the transparency of glass plus the illumination of the colors. The weaving technique allows you to mix the colors by overlapping the glass-strips.
What have you learned while working with glass? Had you worked with glass before this project?
It was the first time that I worked with glass. I learned that—similar to wood—glass sometimes has its own will, and you need to be patient with the material.
What I like about glass is its ability to change its physical state in the kiln, morphing from rigid to fluid, and back to rigid again. It feels a little bit like the material is brought to life for a short moment, and then frozen in its movement.
A selection of Elisa Strozyk’s pendant lamps are on display at Gestalten Pavilion, where they are currently available for purchase. Watch our interview with the mixed-media artist below.